Vote set on Danville mass-transit director

DANVILLE — The Danville City Council will be asked Tuesday night to approve the mayor's appointment of a new mass-transit director from Lafayette, Ind.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer will ask the council to concur with his appointment of John Metzinger to replace Danville Mass Transit Director Dick Brazda, who will retire June 10 after nine years as director. Metzinger is expected to start June 11 at an annual salary of $69,000, according to Eisenhauer.

The city council meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the municipal building, 17 W. Main St.

Earlier this month, the city council approved changes to the city's salary schedule that increased the salary range for the mass-transit director's position to $63,000 to $69,000. Brazda's annual salary is $62,000.

Eisenhauer said the increase was necessary to get the quality of individual the city wants.

The city has been searching for more than a year for a replacement for Brazda. An initial pool of candidates was narrowed by Brazda and the city's human-resources administrator, Bill Westphal, and Eisenhauer was then involved in interviews with the finalists.

Eisenhauer said the strengths of Metzinger, who has been working in public transportation in Lafayette, Ind., are his experience and his passion for the transportation industry as a whole.

"And one of his goals is to broaden the city's entire transportation picture, not just what we are doing with bus transportation," Eisenhauer said. "He also wants to incorporate buses and bikes."

Eisenhauer said Metzinger would like the buses to have bike racks and would like to have bus stops near bike routes. Before his second interview with city officials, Eisenhauer said, Metzinger had been a passenger on the city's bus system multiple times in an attempt to learn more about the drivers, passengers, routes and system.

"He truly has an incredible passion for transportation," he said.

Eisenhauer said the reason the search has taken more than a year was that his hiring philosophy is not to always pick the best person in the pool but to pick the right person for the job.

"So it really took some time to weed out different candidates and be sure we had the right person for the job," he said. "We really just exhausted the process to make sure the individual we were getting was the right person for the position."

Eisenhauer said he's very excited about the choice.

"And I think he will help take the outstanding work that Dick has done in upgrading mass transit in our community and be able to expand upon what's already been accomplished," he said.

Brazda was hired in 2003 prior to Eisenhauer's first term as mayor. He came to Danville from suburban Chicago with more than 32 years of mass-transit experience and was hired from a group of six finalists. Brazda replaced Ileta Smith-Knight, who was fired in January 2003 after being indicted on charges of theft over $10,000 and official misconduct for allegedly embezzling money from the mass-transit system.

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